The Art of Story Telling

Storytelling can be and is a really effective tool when speaking.

As adults, stories still have that magic and power over us as we did when we were kids.

Why is it that we forget this when we have to give a business presentation?

Don’t we want to engage our audiences?

For some reason, we think that our business audience only wants to hear the facts and figures.

I have to say – that is so not how it works.

Our audiences want to be engaged and intrigued and really -who doesn’t like a good story? That’s right we all do.

Here’s a tid bit on how to use stories during any presentation.

When deciding which story to tell make sure that you have considered your audience, find the right story to illustrate your point. Remember how your parents read great stories to you or shared stories about their childhood experience? It’s time for you to do the same.

Remember the story which I’m almost sure your parents shared with you; I had to walk 8 miles to school each way, every day! lol

When you tell a story with energy, passion and excitement, people are eager to tune in to every word that exits your mouth because they want to hear what happens in the end.

When you illustrate your key point with a story, it almost guarantees that your audience will remember your message.

As humans we are hard wired to receive and register stories at a sub-conscious level.

So no mater what your topic or who’s in your audience, include the art of storytelling…. if your goal is to connect, engage and be memorable.

Stay Amazing!

Karen D

How To Calm Your Nerves Before You Take the Mic

The Essential 5-Minute Prep

How To Calm Your Nerves Before You Take the Mic: The Essential 5-Minute Prep

First off know that it’s completely normal and natural to be nervous before speaking in front of a group.

We are born with two natural fears: loud noises and falling. The other fears are products of our environment including public speaking.

But you can come across as being completely sure of yourself, even if you can’t completely shake the jitters.

Here are a few tips to help you keep your calm before you take the mic.
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1. Wiggle your toes
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Studies show that wiggling your toes reduces stress levels and decreases anxiety.

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2. Chat with Your Audience Before Your Presentation
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Meet and greet people before you get on stage. Talking with audiences makes you seem more likeable and approachable. Ask event attendees questions and take in their responses. They may even give you some inspiration to weave into your talk.

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3. Claim the three “audience realities”.
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One: They believe you’re the expert, so don’t tell them otherwise.
Two: They want you to succeed, so they’re on your side.
Three: They won’t know when you make a mistake, so don’t broadcast it.

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4. Find a Pre Talk song.
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Athletes and entertainers use this strategy to focus before they take the stage, or start their sport.
Find a song that gets you pumped up and listen to it backstage before every talk. It has to be “your song”, a song that gets your adrenaline to the perfect level: It has to give you enough so you’re saying “You’ve got this, (insert your name), they are going to love you”. Any song that can make you feel that way is worth taking a few minutes to listen to before jumping on stage. Many athletes do it, why not you.

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5. Visualize your success.
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Sports psychologists have proven that an athlete’s ability to vividly visualize his or her success creates a higher win rate. ,Before your next presentation, mentally walk yourself through the presentation. Picture yourself speaking with confidence and poise; see your audience responding positively.

Nervousness is a natural reaction to speaking in front of large groups. However, try to think of this emotion as a “readiness to share you”, and a type of excitement that is necessary for you to speak. You’ve been sub-consciously programmed to think that you fear it, so how about intentionally creating how you perceive your nervousness? It’s within your control. That simple change of view can change your whole attitude.

Share how you deal with your nerves before you speak in the comment area.

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Stay Amazing! — Karen Donaldson

The Ultimate Connection Tool When Speaking

Showing Vulnerability

Being vulnerable is quite difficult for a lot of people. Showing vulnerability, in general, is hard when you add speaking in front of an audience (intimidating to begin with), adding yet another layer of vulnerability…it can seem even more challenging. However, it’s the right direction to move in if you want to create a deeper connection and authentically connect with your audience.

I believe it’s fair to say that the best presentations do one thing extremely well, and that is; create a truly personal connection. The singular thing we all share as human beings are feelings of fear or vulnerability. If you’re willing to open up about yours, it can help people feel a stronger connection with you.

From time to time when I work with my senior management clients, the conversation around vulnerability when speaking is a tough one. Clarity comes when they are able to clean up their misconceptions about vulnerability and acknowledge that vulnerability is not a sign of weakness. In truth, the ability to be vulnerable is a sign of strength.

Here’s my own example: At some of my talks I share my story of getting pregnant in my last year of high school, persevering, getting out of my own way, graduating with top awards, getting my BASc and going on to co-lead the community development initiative for Canada’s 1st ever social housing redevelopment project.

I don’t bring it up to impress people by any means, but I mention it to show people that hey — I too just like them have experienced adversity, walked with my head high through the mud and come out on top.

I become relatable. They can identify with trudging through tough times, we have all been there (maybe not pregnant in high school…but you get what I mean). They have something that they too have gone through, that has scarred them, but they have still come out on top.

Hearing about my adversity, keeps my talks “real” and reminds people of the power they have and all of the things they themselves have overcome. That’s where the true connection comes from, we have a connection as real human beings.

I’m not saying every presentation needs a serious, deep issue in it. But don’t be afraid to discuss things that make you feel vulnerable if they’re relevant. It can be a powerful connection and engagement tool.

I have a senior executive client who often shares his ritual with his kids that they do every time he goes out of town for work. No, it doesn’t make him look soft, quite the contrary. It allows him to develop an instant connection with his audience as a human being. He takes off his official hat as a corporate leader and allows for his audience to see him as one of them, which he is. He instantly connects with the parents, the grandparents, the aunts, the uncles, essentially anyone who has a child in their life in any capacity.

It takes a powerful person to be vulnerable in front of an audience. Being vulnerable comes down to being OK with you, your perfections imperfections and all.

Contact me at karen@karendonaldsoninc.com if you’re ready to bring your speaking skills to a new level of great.

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share
Stay Amazing! — Karen Donaldson